Designing and building a beautiful and well-functioning website takes time and effort. It also takes knowledge and experience. Many new designers might know the basics of web design, but due to inexperience might make web design mistakes that result in poor user experience and will drive users away.
When starting a new website, it’s important to be aware of the most common web design mistakes. Below is the list of 10 mistakes commonly made by new web designers.
1. Slow loading pages
If your website is taking too long to load, you risk losing many web users. The faster it loads, the better the user experience. To make sure your website loads quickly, one of the things you can do is optimize the images. Specifically, your home page. You can use any of these image optimization tools to help you reduce the size of your graphics.
Bulky plugins, themes, and menu can slow your website down. So, make sure you only have the necessary ones and keep them updated at all times. Test your website before you publish it to make sure everything is reacting the way it should. You can use Google Speed Tool to check how long your pages take too long and follow the instruction to fix them
2. Not mobile-friendly
There is no questions, your website must be mobile-friendly or you will get penalized by Google. If you don’t have a responsive website, it will drive away many users who access it on their phones or tablets. More than half of all internet traffic is done via mobile so this should give you an indication of just how important this point is. Google also now favors mobile-friendly websites over non-responsive websites, so if you want your website to stay competitive. To find out if your website is mobile-friendly, you can use Google’s mobile testing tool to check.
3. Poor website layout
Your website needs to be easy to navigate. The layout requires to have a good flow. Eliminate clutter or extra stuff that will confuse people who are visiting your website. A poorly laid out website will easily confuse people and it’s unlikely they’ll want to come back. Analyze your website from the perspective of a user. Is the menu clear? Can you figure out what the website is about in 5 seconds or less? Are the images and text work together? All these elements are part of the layout and need to work together to provide an amazing user experience.
4. No call to action
Similar to the last point, if you are getting a ton of traffic people quickly leave, it may be that your call to action is not clear. You need to be very explicit about what you want your website visitors to do. Make sure all your CTA (call to action) buttons and text are clear and stand out from the rest of the copy.
5. No SEO
Kenny Grant, a web usability analyst at 1Day2Write says that “having SEO and analytics associated with it is the best way you can figure out how your website is doing for ranking. SEO will help your website rank higher in search results whereas analytics will let you know how long people are spending on your website and what they’re doing on each page.”
Building your website but not spending the time to optimize your website will likely doom your website. Even if you have the most amazing website but no one can find it using search engines, it’s unlikely you’ll ever get it off the ground. Make sure to spend time optimizing it. There are on-page and off-page optimization strategies you can apply to ensure users can find it. SEO is a marathon, not a race. You have to continue to analyze and optimize your website to make sure your website attracts visitors and shows up in search engines for necessary keywords. Use tools such as Google Analytics and Search Console to help get your website optimized and checked for any problems.
6. Missing contact information
Your website should have important information about your business, the hours, locations, phone number, and contact information. If you have brick-and-mortar stores, you should be integrating Google Maps in your location section so people can find you easily. If there’s an email, make sure it’s monitored and you respond promptly, or else you’re losing valuable customers.
7. Having the wrong font, color, and style
If the font is not easy to read, or the colors clash together, you’re making a big mistake. You have to present your content for maximum readability so that users on computers or mobile devices can read the font without adjusting it. Also, make sure your text is easy to skim. Instead of reading big blocks of text, web users tend to skip most of the text they see online. One study concluded that visitors will only read about 20% of the text on the average page. (Jacob Nielson). So make sure to create sub-headings, bold the important text, use bullet points and other visual elements to ensure people can quickly glance at your pages and get the most important points quickly.
8. Out-of-date content
Websites with outdated articles or news sections always perform poorly. Users want content that’s fresh and regularly updated. No one wants to see that your last blog was published 3 years ago. Studies show that companies that blog more frequently get better results and generate more business. So if you care about growing your business, find time to update your content.
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9. Poor placement of social media links
According to Janine Fairmont, a web developer at Write My X, “if your links to your social media accounts show up at the top of the page, people may head there before they even look around your website. The better placement for these is at the bottom of the page, or on your contact page.”
10. Not securing your site
Your website should have a valid HTTPS certificate so browsers will consider you a safe website. If you don’t have this, users see that your website is not secure. Speak to your hosting provider to see if they can help you to set it up. Many hosting companies like Bluehost and HostGator now offer a free SSL certificate if you host your website with them.
If you’re using WordPress, make sure to update your core WP, your themes, and plugins regularly. Download all the latest security patches and malware updates. Install malware protection plugins such as Wordfence and scan your files often to make sure everything is up-to-date and you don’t have any malicious code installed on your website.
These are just some of the most common mistakes web developers make when building websites. If you think you’re making any of these mistakes, fix them as soon as possible so your business can benefit.
Joel Syder, a web-oriented IT designer, writes articles for Thesis Help and PhD Kingdom about web design and marketing. You can also find his writing about website creation, social media marketing, and digital advances at Academic Brits.